I’ve been thinking a lot about what draws me to manga over western comics, partly because I’ve started reading Captain America, which I’m enjoying, but wow it is hard for me to get used to reading comics in color. I feel like I should like it *more*, but I mostly find it overwhelming (which is, I think, the main reason I haven’t made it through all of Sandman, despite my deep love for Neil Gaiman). For some reason it is a lot easier for me to follow comics that are in black and white, and there’s no getting around it. I’m also really accustomed to the number of panels found on a page of manga, rather than on a page of a western comic book, and I find manga easier to look at because of that as well. What I’m really getting around to here, though, is why I tend to consider my graphic novel in-progress to be an OEL manga rather than an American comic book, and these things (as well as others) influence that. In the next couple of months I’m going to be searching for an artist to collaborate with me on the project, and I think I need to be clear with myself about what I’m looking for, before I get all tangled up in that.
Despite my declaration that I’m writing an OEL manga, I’m really not particular about the drawing style I’m looking for, or at least I’m not tied to just one style (of course, neither is manga, but that’s a whole conversation on its own). My priorities are that it be someone who enjoys comics in black-and-white, who wants to draw for a tankobon-sized page, and who doesn’t want to draw super-heroes. I also am deeply committed to the main (female) character *not* being conventionally beautiful, and I’d like to work with an artist who will enjoy drawing her. I consider my story to be a shoujo adventure manga, but I’m also not particularly interested in the flowery drawing style associated with a lot of shoujo manga. This story has some action involved, but not much fighting. It is set in New England, and I’d like it to look that way, though there are many alternate dimensions involved, so there is plenty of opportunity for variety there. There is even one dimension I imagine looking somewhat like Japan. The story is pretty epic: complex world-building and plot, but still strongly character-driven. I think the artist needs to love the story as much as I do, and I will have a completed script (suitable for sharing) of the first volume ready by the end of September. Until then, I can provide a pretty comprehensive summary. I have been trying to shape it to fit into three volumes, but I’m not sure that’s going to be successful. I think I’d like to get some feedback on the first volume from a collaborator before I try to make that determination for sure.
Why is it a shoujo manga? Well, I’m writing it for girls. But girls like *me*, which probably includes a lot of boys, too. It has a female character in the lead role, and a little bit of romance, though that isn’t the focus. It explores the relationship between dreams and “reality,” and issues of family and self-esteem. Also, war. And high school. It’s a bit of a mixed bag. And the little sister is a lesbian, though we may not get far enough into the story for that to be evident to casual readers, since it isn’t a focus in this initial arc, and it would take getting a green light for a long series to get that far in. But it’s true anyway. All told, though, I think it’s a shoujo adventure manga. Jason Thompson recently posted to ask why there aren’t more shounen titles in OEL manga, and I’m sad to not be helping at all with that, but no matter how I look at it, I think this is a shoujo manga.
Why am I rambling on about this? I don’t know. Perhaps I’m hoping the perfect artist will be passing by. Or maybe I just need to write this stuff out for myself. I’m anxious to get the first volume completely scripted (the panel descriptions are holding me up), because I really want to get into the meat of the story, which doesn’t really start until the second volume.
In other news, Brigid Alverson made me want to get off my butt and finally read some Tezuka.
This entry feels really disjointed. I blame the weather.
gloss saysJuly 24, 2008 at 3:38 pm
partly because I’ve started reading Captain America
WAIT WHAT YOU HAVE? *rejoice*
I had the same difficulty switching from B/W indie to the highly-colored mainstream comics.
I’m really excited to read your manga, you know. <333
melinda saysJuly 24, 2008 at 5:01 pm
I HAVE. :D I wondered if you’d see that. Hee. I like it quite a bit so far.
gloss saysJuly 24, 2008 at 5:13 pm
Are you reading volume 5/Brubaker’s? Or earlier stuff, or what? I NEED DETAILS.
melinda saysJuly 24, 2008 at 5:36 pm
I’ve only just finished volume 1, so I’m really just barely started. I think I maybe only have through 4?
gloss saysJuly 24, 2008 at 5:58 pm
I think we’re crossing wires here? Volume 1 of the (modern) Cap ran for 400+ issues, from the mid-1960s to the early 90s. The current series, by Ed Brubaker, is volume 5. Is there a writer identified on your copy?
melinda saysJuly 24, 2008 at 6:10 pm
Hmmmm I just have what you gave me. I was assuming vol. 1 because I have four files, numbered from 1-4. I think they are from 1991. By Fabian someone and Kevin someone.
gloss saysJuly 24, 2008 at 6:23 pm
OHHHH! Okay, gotcha. That’s the Nicieza mini-series. I’m sorry for all the confusion (and for forgetting that I’d sent that to you).
melinda saysJuly 24, 2008 at 6:25 pm
That is what I’ve got! :)
kate saysJuly 24, 2008 at 6:42 pm
You sly fox, you, reading Captain America!
melinda saysJuly 24, 2008 at 6:43 pm
Well, it’s about time, isn’t it? :D
J saysJuly 25, 2008 at 3:27 pm
I just need to chime in here with my surprise and pleasure…. and add that I had a really hard time with “all those pictures” when I started reading graphic novels.
melinda saysJuly 26, 2008 at 10:21 am
Hee! Well, so did I, even before I started reading manga. Do you remember my big post about how I didn’t think I’d ever be able to get really into comics or animation? HA.